‘Businesses Don’t Get to Pick the Timetable for When Their Preferred Model Takes a Permanent Dirt Nap’

Merlin Mann’s got a nice retort to Marco Arment’s piece from a few days back regarding media consumption and entitlement.

Kung Fu Grippe (via Daring Fireball)

Netflix asking people about iPhone streaming

I’ve gotten several reports from people telling me that Netflix has begun polling their subscribers, asking if they’d be interested in streaming to their iPhone. I’ve not received this poll (or else you’d see a screenshot right now), but thought I should pass it on.

If anyone has a screen grab, post it in the comments.

Netflix

Hulu is getting into Content Creation

Jennifer Van Grove writes:

If I Can Dream — Hulu’s first foray into original programming — is set to premiere on March 2 on Hulu and IfICanDream.com.

The made-for-web TV show — which will be made available internationally — is a joint collaboration between the online TV syndicator and Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.

If I Can Dream @ Hulu (via Mashable)

A Beginner’s Guide to Made-for-Internet TV @ Mashable.com

Money Quote:

Web video is expanding right now, and though a lot of attention is paid to episodes of network TV shows like Lost or The Office that you can stream online, there’s an emerging wealth of content made just for the web. There’s going to be even more of it in the future, so this is a great time to get in at the ground level and experience an emerging art form.

Since September we’ve worked with web video analytics company Visible Measures to publish a monthly list of the top 10 most viewed original web series. And with the 2010 Streamy Awards coming up in just a couple of months, we believe this is an ideal time to serve up a quick overview of what web series are and why we’re so interested in covering them.

Read the whole thing over @ Mashable.

Clicker.com – The TV Guide of Online TV

When people find out I cut the cable, no two people ask the same first question – but they all eventually ask:

“How do I find what’s on?”

There was never really a satisfactory answer until now: Clicker.com.

Open Letter to HBO: Be Like Netflix, Not Like Hulu

Dear Home Box Office.

I’m a big fan, dating back to the late 1970s when my uncle showed me Rocky on his brand new 10′ satellite dish, so I was excited to learn about your new streaming service HBO Go.

HBO Go Logo

Immediately after hearing about it’s existence I rushed to my computer, pulled up the site, and clicked “Sign Up”. That’s when I found out that only Comcast and Verizon cable TV customers who buy HBO through their cable company can watch.

What a missed opportunity. I was ready to open up my wallet and pay for content that I find worth paying for, but found out in addition to paying for HBO I would have to pay for cable TV, too.

Here’s 10 cents worth of free advice: Stop thinking of yourself as a cable channel or as a TV network and think of yourself as an entertainment provider. Stop paying Verizon and Comcast to be your middlemen. Take my money directly, like Netflix.

Be Like Netflix
For $8.99 a month, Netflix lets me stream from their website and they give access to their API so their service can be integrated into my TV, BluRay Player, or Boxee Box. (Almost 50% of their customer base stream content). No, it’s not perfect. It’s got DRM and it’s Silverlight-based so you can’t watch it on your iPhone (yet). Most content is Still SD and the HD content is only 720p. But it’s easy to use and more importantly it’s easy to pay for. It’s flexible in how I use their service and doesn’t try to nickel and dime the hardware vendors that are helping them grow – unlike Hulu.

Hulu’s Misstep
The Content Providers (ahem TV Networks FOX, NBC, and ABC) that own Hulu want Boxee et al to pay them for the privelege of pointing traffic at them (which is like wanting the phone company to pay you for printing your number in their phone book) and is attempting to block them in an effort to force negotiations, going so far as to falsely characterize their action as “illegally taking” in Congressional hearings. Why? Because they are too busy fretting over lost banner ad revenue and disproportionate per-impression ad rates compared to cable to see that Boxee is pointing a money firehose at them and pressure is just beginning to build.

…which, if you aren’t paying attention, is the same mistake NewsCorp (Owner of FOX and 1/3 owner of Hulu) and the Associated Press are making with Google News, too.

“Thanks for the customers. Now you owe me money for sending them my way. Even though your recommendations keep me afloat and I would probably be bankrupt without them, you made money by recommending me, so I deserve a cut. You must pay to advertise me.”

Hulu is doing more right than wrong, but their mistake of tying their service to a web page instead of allowing it on a TV is harming them more than helping them – much like your need to tie your online service to your cable channel will harm more than help you.

I understand that contractually you are obligated to do (and not to do) certain things, but I would hope that you see my point of view and can see the value in a cable-optional internet streaming site.

Thanks for listening,
– Gerald

P.S. For what it’s worth: I think Hulu should abandon the paywall idea, pack their site with content, license and control use of their API, grow their user base, and then negotiate better “per impression” ad rates for their in-line ads. A model I don’t recommend for you, HBO, nor for Netflix.

Stream the 2010 Winter Olympics LIVE Coverage + Replays

Four Hundred Hours of live competition coverage + 1,000 hours of full-event replays @ NBCOlympics.com.

NBCOlympics logo

Waaay more live coverage than you’ll get on TV.

NBCOlympics.com

Gorge Yourself on Streaming TV @ TVGorge.com

And pssst… no geo restrictions. Welcome non-US Streamers. Get it while it lasts. I mean, seriously. Look at the list of shows.

TVGorge.com

and it keeps going….

the list continues

…and going…

and continues

Check it out yourself.

TVGorge.com

Comcast Attempts To Wash Away Sins, Changes Name To XFinity.

Does the name “Altria” make you think of:
Giant Cover-Ups,
Bullying,
Lying Scientists,
Lying To Congress, or
Cancer?
…No? Good.
That’s why they aren’t called Philip Morris anymore.

Mega corporations don’t flush decades of name recognition when their customers like them. ValuJet had a crash so bad that they had to become AirTran just to survive.

A corporate name change is like a get-out-of-anything card. No matter how terrible you treated your customers, your countrymen, or your planet – a name change makes everyone forget it all. It’s as if you never did it in the first place.

Who, him? He’s not me. I’m not him. I’m NewCorp!

Now Comcast is changing their name. I’m sure it has nothing to do with their stance on traffic shaping, bandwidth capping, throttling, and net neutrality. I’m sure it also has nothing to do with their reputation for high bills, expensive bundles, high-pressure customer retention, poor service, poor customer service, and closed-network ways. I’m sure, as John Gruber suggests, they’re doing it just for kicks.

Philadelphia Inquirer via Daring Fireball

Jeff Zucker, with his pants on fire, tells Congress that Hulu content was ‘illegally taken’.

If you want to watch him repeatedly refer to pulling up a web site in a web browser as “illegal” check out the video in the C-Span Archives, (Sorry I can’t embed it here) but it can be summed up in this excerpt:

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): What about Boxee? Mr. Zucker you probably are in a better position to answer that. Did Hulu block the Boxee users from access to the Hulu programs?

Zucker (NBC): This was a decision made by the Hulu management to, uh, what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal. And, you know, all, all the, we have several distributors, actually many distributors of the Hulu content that we have legal distribution deals with so we don’t preclude distribution deals. What we preclude are those who illegally take that content.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): “Well would you have negotiations with Boxee upon request?”

Zucker (NBC): “We have always said that we’re open to negotiations.”

Of course, Boxee’s Avner Ronen had this (among other things) to say:

I’d like to set the record straight regarding Boxee’s access to Hulu. Boxee uses a web browser to access Hulu’s content – just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu’s website and the video within that page plays. We don’t “take” the video. We don’t copy it. We don’t put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.

He also mentiones that Boxee has almost a million users. Not too shabby for a piece of software that just left alpha stage a few weeks ago and has just begun its beta period.

Boxee Blog (via Business Insider)

Lifehacker Asks: Which Media Center Is Right For You?

They’re laying it all out. The most even-handed look at the strengths and weaknesses of three different media center apps. Check it out.

Source: Lifehacker.com

Lifehacker

Netflix: Oh, Yeah, nearly half of our subscribers are streaming now.

Buried among the hoopla of new indie titles and stellar earnings, TechCrunch noticed this little statistic: Nearly half of Netflix’s subscribers are streaming.

TechCrunch

1.3 Million Watched State of the Union @ Whitehouse.gov

Mashable writes:

According to the White House blog, 1.3 million people watched U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech live on the White House’s website — or at least on sites that embedded the official video. The White House also said that 50,000 people participated in a Q&A with officials on Facebook after the speech.

White House Blog

NFL Network comes to Hulu

Just in time.

Hulu

String of New Deals Brings Hundreds of Indie Films to Netflix Streaming

Including titles from The Criterion Collection, Gravitas Ventures, Kino Lorber, Music Box Films, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Regent Releasing.

via TechCrunch

Is Your Net Connection Fast Enough for 1080p?

When streaming HD video, how long do you have to let it buffer before it plays all the way through without stuttering? Stress test your ‘net connection over at Apple.com’s HD trailer page.

Apple.com HD Trailers

Giving Up Cable Doesn’t Mean Giving Up TV

Get The Most From Cutting Cable with Online TV (Early 2010 Edition, Part 1 of 5)

Intro


Online TV*. The landscape changes fast. The barren wasteland of 2004 became a desert oasis in 2007 and is blossoming into a viable alternative in 2010. While you still can’t (legally) see everything that’s available on cable, there is a lot to watch and the price tag of free is terribly tempting.

There’s lots of ways to dip your toe into online TV. Online TV services are built-in to many new TVs, Blu-Ray Players, Video Game consoles, set-top boxes, and even cell phones. (Not to mention it’s all over the web.) You can get into Online TV right now by clicking any links in the sidebar. Getting it isn’t the problem – getting the most from it is the trick.

Getting the most out of it means the best picture/sound and making it easy to use. You can do this with four basic hardware pieces, many of which you may already own: A computer, a TV/Monitor, a Blu-Ray Player, and an A/V Receiver. After that there are things you can add like video game consoles, DVRs, remotes, smartphones, projectors, and more… but for right now, let’s stick with the basics. If you choose the basic four pieces wisely and wire it together correctly, it becomes a system so easy even company can use it.

You don’t NEED all 4 pieces to get online TV. To get a majority of it, all you need is a computer built in the last few years. But an easy-to-use, internet-based, large screen home theatre with multi-channel sound is cheaper and easier to obtain than you think.

*Note: “Online TV” refers to streaming and downloading movies and television shows, online content for Blu-Ray movies, and Internet Original video content. Other internet content such as music, music videos, social networking, and online gaming is beyond the scope of this article.

Piece 1 of 4: A Screen


Whether it’s a 13″ laptop, a 65″ OLED HDTV, or a 10 foot projection, to fully enjoy Online TV you need a screen to see it on.

My guess is that you will be watching this on your living room television. If this is the case, you can just skip the rest of Part 1 of this article. Part 5 will deal with wiring it all together, and I’ll discuss using your existing stuff.

If, on the other hand, you are planning to build a new internet-based home theatre from scratch, then read on.

When buying a screen, size matters less than resolution and refresh rate.

Resolution
Whether it’s a TV or a computer monitor, your screen should have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Pitfall #1: Buying a TV
Not all “1080p” TVs are 1920 x 1080. Some TVs “support 1080p” but have a 1366 x 768 screen. These TVs “support 1080p” signals, but scale the 1080p picture down to 720p then back up to 768p – resulting in a soft, muddy picture. Check the native resolution, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.

Pitfall #2: Buying a Monitor
Not all “1080p” monitors are 1920 x 1080. Some are 1920 x 1200. Like TVs, these monitors support 1080p signals but stretch the image 10% too tall when connected to DVD Players, Blu-Ray-Players, Netflix Boxes, and video game consoles – making everyone look sickly thin with elongated heads. These are 16:10 monitors, and you want 16:9.

Some 16:9 aspect ratio monitors have resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080, but as long as it’s 16:9, your picture will be the correct shape. Resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080 are great for computers but wasted on TV/Movies because nothing is distributed at higher resolutions than that.

Refresh Rate
While showing 1080p, it should have a refresh rate of at least one of these: 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, etc. (Movie buffs like 24p and 48p modes, but the screens that output them are as uncommon as the commercial content encoded at that framerate.) Beware TVs that claim 240Hz on the box but reveal in the fine print that it only does 240Hz in 480p mode and does 1080p at 30Hz. Check the 1080p refresh rate, because that’s what you’ll actually be looking at.

Ports:
After resolution and refresh rate, the next important thing is ports.

An increasing amount of copy-protected content requires an HDCP-compliant port, such as HDMI and DisplayPort, or else it degrades the picture. Neither DVI nor Component connectors are HDCP-compliant, so if you’re connecting anything to your TV with DVI or component, you aren’t looking at full 1080p as often as you think.

To get the most from Online Television, your screen should have at least one (1) HDMI 1.3b or higher port, or one (1) DisplayPort/MiniDisplayPort.

More ports can be better but if you’re getting all four basic pieces you’ll only need one on the screen.

A Word on Built-In Online TV Services:
If you’re going to do at least 2 of the 4 pieces, and one of them is a screen, chances are the other piece will do Netflix Streaming so it’s (next to) pointless to have it built-in to your screen. It needlessly complicates the menus and prevents us from tossing the remote in a drawer and forgetting about it.

A Word on Dynamic Contrast Ratio:
Anything that passes all the other tests is going to be good enough. Don’t go broke chasing a bigger number spread.

That’s it
Your screen doesn’t need anything else. It doesn’t need a tuner or speakers or Picture-In-Picture or a fancy remote. It just needs to be able to show you the best visual representation of what 1080p content can offer.

Next up, Blu-Ray.

Have You Switched From Cable to The Internet? 36% Say “Yes”, another 82% Say “Some”.

Back in March ’09 I asked: Have you switched from Cable to The Internet? The results were incredible. Back then, 1 in 4 (24%) had made the switch completely. I said I would keep you posted if things change.

Jan 2010 poll: 36% Yes, 82% Some

As of today, more than 1/3 of those polled (36%) have cut the cable and gone all-internet.

The biggest leap is those that answered “some”. Back then just over half of those polled (52%) had streamed or downloaded some TV. At the time, I could hardly believe the number was so large …but now 4 out of 5 polled (82%) are getting some content via the internet.

Disclaimer: This poll is ongoing, therefore flawed, but it illustrates an unmistakable trend that is getting too big to ignore.

Take the poll here.

Fake Steve on The Death of Television

From The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, Fake Steve (aka Dan Lyons) rants:

But seriously, what does a broadcast network do? One part of their business is distribution. Okay, that’s gone. Another part is selling ads. Check that one off the list. So what’s left? What’s left is they’re taste-makers and they’re bankers. If you want to make a show you go pitch your idea to a bunch of assheads from the network who sit there and decide whether to loan you money. Then the same assheads watch your pilot and decide whether to make it a series. But seriously, these people are assheads! The whole Conan thing is proof enough. Yet they remain the gate-keepers. Why is this? Right now there’s only one reason and it’s because they have money. But come on. How hard is it to get money? And they’ve still got an audience. But that’s going away quickly. The whole model is going to fragment into a million tiny pieces…

Go read the whole thing. It’s funny because it’s true.

Net Neutrality: Not Dead Yet

Update: Before reading this post, pull up http://www.realnetneutrality.org/ in another tab. I’ll wait.

Kenneth Corbin Writes:

With the deadline for filing comments on a federal effort to enact network neutrality rules fast approaching, businesses and advocacy groups are making their pitches in an effort to shape what could be a landmark overhaul of the nation’s Internet policy.

The Federal Communications Commission is accepting comments on its Net neutrality rulemaking through Thursday, and advocates of the policy took the occasion to release a pair of academic analyses today making a case linking the open Internet with economic growth.

You have until March 5, 2010 to file a comment.

Net Neutrality is Proceeding #09-191. While you’re there, you may also consider commenting on #07-52 Inquiry Into Broadband Market Practices #09-51 The National Broadband Plan and on #04-186 TV White Spaces.

Federal Communication Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System

Is Wal-Mart buying Vudu?

Vudu, the HD-service that wouldn’t die has started expanding past it’s own hardware and is looking to pull a Netflix and get in set-top boxes, Blu-Ray Players, TVs, and… Wal-Mart? That’s what AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka thinks.

Money Quote:

Sources tell me Web video start-up Vudu is in “meaningful” acquisition discussions, and industry executives believe Wal-Mart is the likely buyer.

Read the whole thing over @ AllThingsD

Is there anyone in NYC that has cut the cable? The NYTimes wants to talk to you.

I’ve been exchanging e-mails with someone working on an article about people who have thrown off the shackles of cable and satellite TV and depend instead on the web for their entertainment needs.

I’ve talked a good game and described this rarest of TV watcher, but s/he wants to meet one in person. I’m not dropping names or e-mails here (Why would I want to ruin a perfectly good new relationship by flooding his/her e-mail box?) but will be happy to forward your mail along.

If you live in New York City and get all your TV/Movies via the internet, shoot an e-mail to me at neuroticnomad@gmail.com with the subject line “NYTimes”.

Netflix Streaming Coming To The Wii This Spring

Where did I hear this? Everywhere. Here’s a quote from the CSM:

The Wii joins the PS3, Xbox 360, LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, TiVo, a set-top box from Roku, and even some TVs in offering access to Netflix’s streaming catalog. Like the PS3, the Wii will require users to send away for a special disc to pop in when they want to watch streaming content.

Netflix

Mashable’s List of Top 10 Most Watched Web Series in December ’09

Money Quote:

December saw the top web series bounce back in popularity after a two-month slump. Actually, they did more than that.

The highest peak recorded since we started our monthly series was 93 million views in September. It dropped all the way to 73 million in November. Last month? 106 million. That’s despite the tendency for online viewership to drop while people visit their families during the holidays.

Read the whole thing, and check out their handy-dandy chart @ Mashable.com

All The Free Documentaries You Can Freely Watch… for FREE!

Money Quote:

At freedocumentaries.org we strongly believe that in order to have a true democracy, there has to be a free flow of easily accessible information. Unfortunately, many important perspectives, opinions, and facts never make it to our televisions or cinemas (you can watch movies in our media category if you want to know why).

freedocumentaries.org via WiseBread

MG Siegler NAILS IT on the Netflix/Warner Bros Deal

I was getting ready to type up my views on the Netflix’s announcement when I ran across an article @ TechCrunch called “Netflix Stabs Us In The Heart So Hollywood Can Drink Our Blood

Money Quote:

The problem here is that the assumption is that Hollywood will be ready and willing to favorably deal with Netflix in the future for streaming. Mark my words, that will only happen if and when piracy becomes a problem. Do we really believe that Hollywood wants to give Netflix (or anyone else) movies to stream early rather than having people buy them first? No, it’s the exact same problem. It’s a problem of greed.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Boxee Beta Goes Public

Finally.

Grab your copy over @ Boxee.TV – if you can. Their server seems to be getting slammed at the moment.

Boxee Box Remote – Coolest Remote EVER!

‘Nuff Said.

I want it for my Mac!!

via Boxee Blog

Xfinity TV Everywhere violates antitrust laws by leaving out online video providers, claims group

Money quote:

“This is textbook antitrust violation,” said University of Nebraska law professor Marvin Ammori, a senior advisor to Free Press, in a statement. “The old media giants are working together to kill off innovative online competitors and carve up the market for themselves. TV Everywhere is designed to eliminate competition at a pivotal moment in the history of television.”

Telecom trade association industry mouthpiece National Cable and Telecommunications Association told Rupert Murdoch’s arch-conservative Washington Post that TV Everywhere doesn’t violate any regulatory provisions.

It was implied that we should all believe them and stop snooping.

Yeah. Good luck with that.

The real questions are:

1. Will Comcast (Xfinity’s owner) count Xfinity toward your monthly bandwidth limit?

2. Will Comcast give preferential bandwidth treatment to Xfinity over the competition?

via InformationWeek

Time Warner Cable says to Replace Cable with the Internet

…and even posted a handy video to YouTube to show you how.

(via Gizmodo)

$40 Unlimited Data on 3G

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you can’t figure out how to provide unlimited access for a flat rate, don’t be surprised when someone else can.

Data caps are doomed.

(via Electronista)

The 5 Links That Matter in Online TV at the End of 2009

At this time of year every blog, zine, site, and paper writes their End Of The Year wrap-up for whatever field it is that they cover – so I guess that means that I should be doing the same.

I’m not going to do it.

It would take too long and the play-by-play doesn’t really matter. All that matters is the outcome. At the end of 2009, only five links count in Online Television. Here they are.

1. Hulu – OK, there have been hints that they’re going to end the all-free gravy train. One of the three big partners got 51% swallowed by Comcast. And you still can’t watch it on an iPhone. It doesn’t matter. That ton of dough they dropped in 2009 worked and Hulu is a household name in more non-geek households than anybody.

2. Netflix – After killing Blockbuster, they’re going after PPV in a big way. They’re positioning themselves less as a DVD rental company and more of an entertainment delivery company. It’s working. Netflix is becoming THE name in net-connected devices from Blu-Ray Players and videogame consoles to the Boxee Box and even HDTVs themselves.

3. YouTube – Sure, Old Media loves portraying YouTube as a bunch of shaky cellphone videos and latter-day Wayne’s World clones – and the tech press still loves to poo-poohs them over techy things like getting stingy with their API, but Aunt Fran and Uncle Steve can’t be swayed. They know all about the YouTube and have spent a lot of fun time there. Through 2009, YouTube has still made comparatively few deals with TV and Movie networks, but they’ve given birth to more Internet Originals than anyone could count. Did anyone care how many radio stars the TV networks had in 1949? You Betcha! Did anyone care how many radio stars the TV networks had in 2009? Not in the least. We’re still very early in the first inning, folks. This will be a long game. And don’t forget, YouTube beat Hulu and Netflix to the iPhone by going on three years. Don’t underestimate the power of portability.

4. InstantWatcher – I’ve seen a few proto-aggregates pop up from time to time (including at this very website), but none lasted. At the end of 2009 the shining star seems to be InstantWatcher. It’s clean, fast, and easy. It’s like the Craigslist of finding streaming content on Netflix. Let’s hope they expand to include more sources.

5. iTunes – Apple customers can go out and get content from a variety of sources, but if you want to sell stuff TO those customers you have to go through Apple first. Apple doesn’t restrict me from using Handbrake or Evom and filling my iPhone with free content from the net and DVD rentals, but there is only ONE built-in “just press here” way to get content: the iTunes Store. Apple banks on laziness and ineptitude. It doesn’t matter if these tools have gotten “just five clicks and you are done” easy, most people don’t know this and don’t care enough to find out. The iTunes Store is relatively cheap, very easy, and (most importantly) right there. Who cares if it costs a dollar more? For most people it’s worth the dollar to save the time and effort to learn the other way. That’s not even taking free podcasts into account. Apple doesn’t sell (or even host!) podcast content, but they are the largest aggregate of Internet Originals and Studio Content, both free and paid. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

That’s it. That’s Who’s Who at the End of 2009. Don’t sweat it too much. At this point it’s likely to change as often as the weather and every player in my List of Links ( —-> —-> —-> —-> —-> —-> —–> —-> —-> —-> ) will be vying for number one.

Disagree? That’s what the comments are for.

Sorry for the lack of updates… more to come soon.

Yeah, I got a little distracted. I had a surgery, an accident, and another surgery, and I’m finally healing up.

Enough about YOU! Where’s the updates?!?!
I’ve got new hardware, new software, and plenty of new apps to review – plus a ton of industry news and gossip to fill you in on.

Thanks for all the e-mails and tweets when I was in the dark. It really helped.

It feels good to be (mostly) back and I’m looking forward to 2010 and my quest to Replace Television!

Bringing Nothing to the Party: True Confessions of a New Media Whore by Paul Carr [Free Book]

Photo of Book Cover: Bringing Nothing to the Party

Grab your free copy of Paul Carr’s book.

Here’s the PDF. There’s an HTML version with footnotes over at TechCrunch. I’ll mirror it here if/when I figure out how to upload HTML (or ZIP) files to WordPress.com sites.

(little help?)

PaulCarr.com (via TechCrunch)

Rumor: Best Buy to Open Online Movie Store

Electronista reports:

Entertainment magazine Variety claims to have heard from movie studio executives that the retailer is talking to CinemaNow and “other online movie services” to establish a link between itself and one of these services.

Hulu Coming to the iPhone; will be “Badass”.

Dan Frommer writes:

Hulu is in the process of developing an app for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and iPod touch, we have learned from a plugged-in industry executive. The app is coming soon (within a few months) and is “badass” — as excellent as Hulu’s Web site. Video will work over both wi-fi and 3G, we’re told

via Business Insider

Time-Warner Bandwidth Cap Protest: April 18 @ 11am [UPDATED]

There’s going to be a large protest in Rochester, NY on Saturday to fight the upcoming “tired pricing” aka absurdly-low bandwidth caps.

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Time Warner Cable Store
Street: 71 Mt. Hope Avenue
City/Town: Rochester, NY

Join the Time Warner broadband capping protest!
Protest RoadRunner’s new pricing scheme
Stop the Cap!

(Via BoingBoing)

A second protest will be happening simultaneously in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Time Warner Cable Spring Garden Street Office
Street: 1813 Spring Garden St.
City/Town: Greensboro, NC

(via News-Record.com)

Time-Warner Cable’s Data Cap Trial Stalls Due To Lack Of Interest

From the “What Were They Thinking Department”:

…it looks like the company’s plan to further roll out testing of the consumption-based billing method has been foiled, or at least stalled, because it couldn’t find enough customers to participate in the testing. TWC had planned to test in several loactions, including San Antonio and Austin, Texas, but the response has apparently been so negative, and there were so many complaints, that the company has “delayed” the trials until October.

(via engadget)

Get Your Learn On: Educational TV meets New Media

Why let Hulu rot your brain when you can actually use the internet to educate yourself?

Academic Earth joins Google’s YouTube EDU and Apples’ iTunes U in bringing higher education to the masses. All three services offer free video lectures from top universities and the greatest minds alive. Expand yours today.

Academic Earth | iTunes U | YouTube EDU

[UPDATE: Also check out FORA.tv and Big Think.
Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip]

Warner Bros. Studios Now Streaming Classic (and not so Classic) Films

In addition to the Made-to-Order DVD service I told you about a few days ago, Warner has opened it’s own video store.

Rent, Buy, Download, Stream, or have your movie mailed on a plastic disc.

[UPDATE: Windows & IE only for streaming. Vista only for Downloads.]

2001: A Space Odyssey costs $2.95 to rent and $9.95 to buy.

Check out Warner On Demand and The Warner Archive.

The Empire Strikes Back: Comcast and Warner will CAP your ass!

The Status Quo is not going quietly into that goodnight.

In an effort to dissuade you from combining two bills into one, two major providers will start capping one of your networks to make it less useful and more expensive. No word as to whether or not they will continue to call it “unlimited”.

Time Warner Cable and Comcast Cable (two companies with vested interests in keeping you from combining your bills) are expanding the areas where they place data caps on their internet service.

Warner is going the Cell Phone Method of charging you for going over your limit. You will be charged for exceeding a newly imposed limit that you didn’t agree to when you signed up.

[UPDATE: Overages are capped at $75 a month, meaning $150 a month gets you unlimited internet with the Turbo package—or really, you could just get a lower package and use as much as you want and pay less. The only real consideration is speed. GigaOM astutely notes that $150/month for unlimited internet is the exact amount Time Warner would need to pull in to make the same amount of money if you killed the cable box and switched to watching all of your video online—as we've long crowed that much of this is about their fear of internet video. (via Gizmodo)]

Comcast is going the Bartender/Drug Dealer Method. They will just cut you off. No running a tab.

You gave me $100 in cash. I gave you $100 worth of service. Yougotaproblemwiththat? Talk to Vinny.

No word as to the price of getting re-connected.

Both of Warner and Comcast are claiming that it is solely illegal file traders that will be affected – pretending that Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, VUDU, Joost, iTunes, TV.com, YouTube, and the rest of my list of links don’t exist*.

Hey Warner/Comcast! According to my survey, 80% stream or download shows already… and 25% have cut cable completely. Good luck fighting the future.

(Business Week via Gizmodo)

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*I expect both to claim they are doing this because of Net Neutrality, when in fact Net Neutrality (if implemented) would keep them from being able to do this. Blaming Net Neutrality for higher prices will get the uninformed to be against Net Neutrality.

Why Doesn’t Ted Koppel Have a Nightly Video Podcast?

Internet news needs investigative journalists with credibility and integrity to create compelling original content.

There is nothing inherent to ink-on-paper that makes it better suited for telling news.

The internet frees video news from the shackles of network censors and the time constraints of a formula news show.

I would buy any product that buys in-line ad time for Ted Koppel: Uncensored, and would watch it every night if they made their API available for Boxee, App Store Apps, and the like.

Deaf-Blind Woman: “I’m Fed up with CNN!”

Coco writes:

I have been silent til now. Call it apathy. I’m always advocating, sometimes I take a back seat to it, thinking others would notice and take the issues headon. But I don’t see anyone standing up to CNN and telling them off for not subtitling their “video” articles.

I love CNN and it’s the one of four things I first check in the mornings and before I hit the sack. (if you must know, I check facebook.com, cnn.com. gmail.com and sinfully read perezhilton.com). I see awesome, horrible, weird, urgent or boring news titles on CNN.COM. Some of them are done in text. Some done in videos.
And I get disappointed if the article turns out to be video. I don’t understand a damn thing these lips are yapping about.

Today, I saw this title: Facebook Users Hit with Worm.

Uh oh. I must read! I’m a facebook user. So I check this link -

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2009/03/02/barnett.facebook.worm.cnn

and it leads me to cnn’s video site. Aw come onnnnnnn! I wanna read what they’re saying! I’m a facebook junkie, I need to check it 8287465128 times a day (like the rest of you). So I want to know if my baby is OK?

I’m curious. What is the FCC doing about this? Has internet laws been passed? I have no idea what’s going on with technology these days. I’m tech-illiterate. But I know that this captioned-for-net broadcasts from news MUST HAPPEN. And now.

Someone over there in the USA, the land of the free, SPEAK UP AND WHOOP CNN’S A$$! Its your fundamental right!

Ok, feeling good after speaking up my mind. Looking forward to the day I read subtitles/captions on CNN and beyond.

Tactile love,

Coco

My wife doesn’t hear as well as she used to. Captions and subtitle make her (and our neighbors) happier than just cranking up the sound.

I agree that CNN needs to caption their video news, but I’m not so sure legislation is necessary.

Opinion: Fed Up With CNN @ Tactile The World

My Desk is my Entertainment Center …and vice versa.

Desk in Ballard

My computer is my TV and my TV is my computer, which means my entertainment center must also pull double duty as my desk.

My Desk

The keyboard drawer is deep enough for two keyboards (the very clicky Matais Tactile Pro and the very quiet Apple Keyboard) and wide enough for the mousepad to rest on one side, and iPods/iPhones can rest on the other.

Keyboard Drawer (open)Keyboard Drawer (closed)

Currently to the immediate left of the “stand” is the “component shelf”. This houses my Mac (which had to be configured to output multi-channel sound), My 7.1 amp, my DVD player, my printer, and it used to hold my Roku Netflix Player (before I sold it).

reptel04reptel05

Even though I have a 7.1 amp, I only have 5.1 sound (the amp has a setting to down-sample 7.1 content to 5.1 speakers) right now. I feel no rush to buy another pair of speakers before I get a BluRay player to take advantage of them. I haven’t permanently hung the speakers, because I am planning on spinning the room 90 degrees. The left front speaker is in the corner, as is the subwoofer. The center speaker is directly behind the monitor. The front right is on top of a bookshelf.

reptel06reptel07reptel08

One rear speaker is on top of the filing cabinet, the other on top of the DVD Shelf.

reptel09reptel10
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My Old Entertainment Center

Old TV

My last TV was so giant, only a giant entertainment center would house it. When we moved into a cabin in the woods for a year, it took almost a week for me to get all of it out there. (I had to carry it in a wheelbarrow)

When our year was up, we moved out – but left the TV and entertainment center there.
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My Ever-changing Desk

My desk is made of industrial shelving.

Desk 1998

Originally built in 1998 as an editing workstation, it has been re-built again and again.

Desk Flat

It has been low and wide, it’s been flat, it’s been bottom heavy, and top heavy.

Desk 2006

The first attempt at turning into an entertainment center was a bit gigantic.

Desk 2008

But now it’s under control. (and broken into three pieces)

march-2009-desk
deskfinal

Hulu is #4 with a bullet!

Erick Schonfeld writes:

Hulu jumped two spots to become the fourth largest video site in the U.S. in February, according to the latest data from comScore VideoMetrix. Hulu drew an audience of 34.7 million people who watched 332.5 million video streams. That is a 42 percent increase in unique U.S. visitors, up from 24.5 million in January, and a 33 percent increase in streams, up from and 250.5 million streams.

In a single month, Hulu overtook Viacom and Microsoft in total viewers and video streams (see January data). And Hulu is catching up to No. 3 video site Yahoo, which streamed 353.5 million streams in February. Fox Interactive (MySpace) was No. 2 with 462.6 million streams. And YouTube once again blew everyone else out of the water with 5.3 billion streams.

Hulu Gains 10 Million Viewers In February, Now No. 4 Video Site In U.S. @ TechCrunch

Social TV is the future.

Sarah Reedy lets us know that TV is getting social:

When this season’s Bachelor used national television to dump his bride-to-be for the runner-up, nearly every Bachelor-loving female reflected her disdain in a Facebook or Twitter status update.

[...]

According to Tracy Swedlow, CEO and analyst with Interactive TV Today, which is hosting a conference next week on the future of TV, social networking should be priority No. 1 for IPTV providers. She said that telcos should start with basics such as enabling live IM chats during popular TV shows — think American Idol, Lost, 24 or any number of prime-time programs — and eventually get deeper into social communication, including video conferencing. And, they should be doing this ASAP.

The article is quite a read, but the money quote is this:

“If you don’t see social TV as one of your highest priority, you are going to get left behind,” Swedlow said. “The Internet is nothing but about communication.”

Is TV the next Facebook? @ TelephonyOnline

Hand Talks Out of Its Ass: Sock Puppet thinks Boxee steals from Hulu.

[Update: Edited for clarity and to fix grammatical errors]

Lately, many people who are ignorant of how the internet and APIs work are showing off their ignorance.

Loren Feldmen does it twice in one video. First by choosing a video host that doesn’t allow embedding (and expecting the internet to still behave like it did in 2006), second by suggesting that Boxee is stealing content from Hulu.

He says it himself at the beginning: Boxee is a browser for your TV. Yet at around the four minute mark he says:

Boxee (now) takes Hulu (ok) AND the content that Hulu cut deals with. Now Lets Talk about the content.

Then he goes on to rant about how taking content is wrong, and that artists deserve compensation.

The problem is: Boxee is no more stealing content from Hulu than Firefox is.

Yes, taking content is wrong. However, no one took anything. You just kinda breezed over that fact.

The content is the exact same content users of the website see in Fullscreen Mode. Boxee is just a browser.

Hulu is still serving up the content and still serving up the ads.

The Sock Puppet thinks that somehow pulling up a website in a different browser makes it “from a different provider”, and that if you use Boxee you aren’t getting your content from Hulu. The rest of his rant is based on this misconception.

Anyway, back to the Sock Puppet:

You guys get so hooked in with the fuckin’ distribution that you forget about the content. The content is having to deal with Charlie Sheen @ $600,000 a week, showing up drunk, so you can fucking watch it on Hulu. Ok. They cut those deals.

OK. There’s so much wrong there. I’ll start with Charlie Sheen. Mr. Sheen works for Chuck Lorre Productions. He does not work with anyone connected with Hulu or it’s corporate parents.

Next, you seem to be using “Content” interchangeably to refer to both “Content Producers” and “Content Distributers”. You’re falling for the same trick the RIAA pulls when it behaves as if they are the ones making the music.

Most television shows are made by independent production companies and are merely distributed by TV networks. (That’s what all those cards at the end of every show are all about.)

The production company gets compensated when they sell (first-)broadcast rights to a block of episodes. Often they will pre-sell the show before filming anything other than a single episode. Often they will seek Network funding to pay for the single episode in return for first pick-up rights. This is what gives laymen the impression that the networks make the shows. The money is flowing from the network, but it’s payment for a delivery. (The network makes money by “giving away” the shows via live broadcast stream, and selling ad time at a rate based on the number of eyeballs the “give away” brings in.)

[This isn't how ALL TV Procuction is done. Some shows sell all their rights to the Networks including aftermarket (syndication and DVD) rights, others sell their rights to Domestic Television Distributors (who then license them to the Networks), and some shows actually ARE produced in-house (but very little of it is Primetime content). The point is: One all-encompassing label, like "Content" or "Content Provider" gives distributors too much credit and works on the assumption that the producer isn't going to find a new distributor. (It happens. "Scrubs" jumped from NBC to ABC this year). ]

Anyway, back to the Sock Puppet:

Boxee took TV Shows from the web and put back on your TV

No. They didn’t. Boxee is a browser. It’s a computer program, It doesn’t run on a TV. It runs on a computer. If someone connects that computer to a TV you don’t magically deserve more money because the picture is bigger and the viewer can sit in a comfy chair.

Besides, a digital TV screen is nothing but a computer monitor. Boxee can’t be held liable for the size of people’s computer monitors.

And Now the guys who create The TV

You mean “The guys who distribute licensed shows”

…are saying “Listen. We don’t want it on Boxee”.

How about Opera? Is Safari OK? What about IE?

Dumbasses.

You don’t want it on Boxee? I got news for you. The Makers of that content want it on Boxee, and sooner or later, we’ll have our Nine Inch Nails / Radiohead and they WILL bypass you.

If you’re going to watch TV on a TV, how about this: WATCH IT ON FUCKING TV. IS THAT SO UNFAIR? They’re already dealing with DVRs, OnDemand… they’re paying Charlie Sheen. You’re not.

It is not your customer’s job to support your business model.

If you make less money per viewer because that viewer watched it Via Web Browser vs Via Cable then you got screwed in negotiations.

As we are moving from one type of distribution model to another, all the middlemen are trying to take bigger bites than they used to have.

Content Makers (not distributors) need to realize:
1. the dollar-to-eyeball ratio is the most important metric,
2. the distributers will screw both the people they buy content from AND the people they sell content to, if you don’t watch them
3. the distributers will cloud the subject with red herrings.

People watching Hulu in Boxee rather than Firefox is a Red Herring to distract from the REAL problems with internet video advertising revenue and artist compensation.

If the eyeballs-per-dollar ratio the advertisers are paying Hulu isn’t the same as broadcast/cable/satellite – that’s a problem.

If the eyeballs-per-dollar ratio Hulu is paying The Networks isn’t the same as broadcast/cable/satellite – that’s a problem.

If the eyeballs-per-dollar ratio the Networks are paying the people who actually make the content isn’t the same as broadcast/cable/satellite – that’s a problem.

It’s about the content, not the web site.
The red herring worked. In order to to stress that you should watch it on the Hulu website, The Sock Puppet keeps repeating:

Boxee is just an add-on. A browser. It’s all about the content.

Take your own advice Sock Puppet: Stop focusing on the browser. Stop focusing on the web site. It’s about the content of the stream. Hulu is Hulu in every browser! In Firefox, Safari, IE, or on Boxee; it all comes from the same place and 100% of the in-line ads get passed along. Boxee’s existence in no way lessens the number of streamed ads that get fed to eyeballs.

Hulu’s corporate parents behave as if the point of the endeavor is the website. Content is the bait to get eyeballs to the website (just like a TV network), and ad sales will pay for the website (just like a TV network). Unfortunately, that business model only works if your viewers are coming to see the website itself and only care about the video content as much as the wallpaper and the flash ads.

Advertisers: Hulu can’t deliver on a promise that the number of eyeballs that watched the stream will be equal to the number of eyeballs that saw a banner ad.

Banner ad impressions should be measured independently and sold to advertisers separately from the in-line ads. If they aren’t, then the advertisers should be demanding to know why not. Hulu shouldn’t be bundling all their different advertising methods (banners, pop-ups, in-line) into a single unified price scheme.

If they ARE priced and sold separately, then this is the biggest overreaction to a browser I’ve seen in a long time.

If Hulu was smart, it would license the API for their stream.
It should be done for two reasons: a) to insure proper usage and accurate viewership counting, and b) to allow for a Network TV style price structure where ad revenue for in-line ads would scale up with viewership. The money generated from the website would become “icing on an API cake” rather than the cornerstone of the business model.

Hulu can make more money on a raw stream than their website could ever generate. Remember: It’s about the content. With Boxee, viewers watch shows and ads. What’s the problem?

If you don’t like the dollars-to-eyeballs ratio of streaming your video, negotiate for comparable-to-broadcast rates. Bitching because your viewer is legally watching via a more convenient legally available method is stupid and pointless.

The Sock Puppet finishes up by saying that micropayments are the future, and every show worth watching will be charging. You’ll pay or not watch.

Good Luck stuffing the genie back in that bottle. It worked so well for the RIAA and the MPAA.

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[UPDATE: Four days after posting, I went back to his site to catch up on the reaction to my Trackback, if any, and found the link gone, the comments closed, and nary a mention of this piece. Read into that whatever you want.]

The Evolution of Television

The evolution of television is really just the continued evolution of our greatest interpersonal communications system. It was born out of language, matured with writing, and continues to evolve today through interfaces such as the web.

Aaron Smith

Warner Bros launches “made-to-order” DVD service

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Warner Bros on Monday became the first studio to open its film vault to “made-to-order” DVDs, as it sought new revenues in a slumping DVD market by making it possible for fans to buy decades-old films.

Warner Bros, owned by Time Warner Inc, made an initial batch of 150 titles available for purchase online at http://www.WarnerArchive.com , including 1943 comedy-romance “Mr. Lucky” starring Cary Grant and the 1962 release “All Fall Down” with Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint.

Sales are not expected to approach those of new releases on DVD, but the service gives Warner Bros another way to make money from a film archive it already exploits by selling titles for broadcast in the United States and internationally.

The on-demand service allows Warner Bros. to avoid the risk of manufacturing too many copies of old or obscure titles and shipping them to retailers because customers directly order only the titles they want to buy.

“This way you’ve completely eliminated the risk of not selling them. You’re not going to make them until they’re sold,” said Tom Adams, president and senior analyst with Adams Media Research.

Warner Bros. said that each month it will make about 20 films and television programs from its archive available for purchase through this DVD-on-demand program.

The new Warner Bros. initiative comes as the movie industry faces declining DVD sales. Last year, amid the ongoing recession DVD sales fell by 7 percent to $21.6 billion, the Digital Entertainment Group said.

Studios are mainly looking to the emerging Blu-ray disc market to counter declining DVD sales, Adams said.

Last year, sales of Blu-ray discs quadrupled to nearly $750 million, the Digital Entertainment Group said.

But with the new DVD-on-demand service, Warner Bros can supplement its sales by appealing to collectors and fans.

The Warner Bros film archive has 6,800 titles. Since it entered the DVD market in 1997, the studio has released only around 1,200 of those titles from the vault. By comparison, the company expects by the end of the year to have more than 300 titles available via the DVD-on-demand service.

“I think ultimately the odds are very good that every film ever made will be available on this kind of basis, because why not?” Adams said.

Warner Bros. is charging customers $19.95 per title, plus shipping, for the new service. Titles also can be downloaded directly to a customer’s computer.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Gunna Dickson)

Via Reuters

Warner Mutes and Deletes YouTube Videos

Jennifer Bosavage writes:

As the battle between YouTube and publishers such as Warner Music Group heats up, increasing numbers of video content publishers are finding that their videos have been stripped of their background music–or they’ve been removed entirely from the site.

Warner To YouTube: Stop The Music! @ ChannelWeb

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